Democrats' Midterm Chances Could Go up in Smoke With Proposed Menthol Ban In this photo illustration, packs of menthol cigarettes sits on a table, November 15, 2018 in New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty)
By Nicole Wells | Monday, 25 April 2022 01:10 PM
With President Joe Biden’s public approval ratings stuck around the 40% mark, and voters indicating their disapproval of his handling of the economy, immigration and foreign policy, Republicans have discovered another issue that could cause the Democrats’ midterm chances to go up in smoke: the president’s proposed ban on menthol cigarettes.
Citing an Echelon Insights poll released earlier this month, the Washington Free Beacon reports that the majority of voters in the swing states of Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina disapprove of the Biden administration’s potential ban on the flavored cigarettes.
In Georgia and Nevada, 52% of voters and 50% of North Carolina voters say the administration should keep menthol cigarettes legal.
Only 31%, 30% and 28% of voters in Georgia, North Carolina and Nevada, respectively, would like to see menthols banned, according to the poll.
Should the president move forward with the menthol ban, the decision could potentially damage his party’s chances in the three states – which are critical to control of the Senate – during the congressional midterm elections in November.
In Nevada, 49% of voters would be less likely to support a candidate who “vocally supported” a menthol ban, including 60% of the state’s Hispanic voters, the poll shows.
A longtime GOP operative told the Free Beacon that Republicans would emphasize the menthol ban if it's enacted, adding that there's "no issue Biden isn't capable of mishandling."
"As usual, the Biden administration continues to try to control the lives of everyday Americans instead of fixing the soaring inflation crisis it created," the source said. "First, Biden said, ‘If you don't vote for me, you ain't black.' Now, he's saying, ‘If you choose to smoke menthols, you must be.'"
In April 2021, the White House announced it planned to ban menthol cigarettes to "address health disparities experienced by communities of color, low-income populations, and LGBTQ+ individuals."
According to the Food and Drug Administration, 85% of black smokers use menthol cigarettes instead of non-flavored ones.
According to the poll, roughly two-thirds of Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina voters oppose the ban because they believe it would not be effective.
More than 60% of voters in each of the three states believe the ban would "push the product out of legitimate stores and onto street corners where gangs and violent criminals sell and generate profit for organized crime." That number includes 77% of Hispanic voters in Nevada, 64% of independent voters in North Carolina and 60% of Democrat voters in Georgia.
One year later, the proposed ban has not moved forward, and the Biden administration is facing 40-year high inflation, upticks in violent crime and the crisis in Ukraine heading into the midterms.
According to the poll, nearly 90% of voters in Georgia, North Carolina and Nevada believe the administration should not “spend their time banning menthol cigarettes.”